Table Tennis Continues to Promote Peace

Renens / Lausanne Jan 18, 2012: Table Tennis Continues Promote Peace, Six weeks after the conclusion of the ground-breaking Qatar Peace and Sport Table Tennis Cup, the UN’s Wilfried Lemke, the Aspire Academy and the city of Doha are united once again in the pursuit of peace, by using sport as the vehicle to achieve harmony.

Named the UNOSDP (United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace) 2012 Youth Leadership Camp, the 10 day pilot project that is set to run until the 19th January is enabling 30 young participants, 18 male and 12 females, to deliver sport-based social programmes and invoke major changes in their communities.

The International Table Tennis Federation’s Deputy Executive Director-Development, Leandro Olvech, will be contributing to the project, which has a specially designed curriculum to address such matters as health, gender, disability, education and peace, whilst encouraging the students to adapt to real life situations for the benefit of their communities.

Wilfried Lemke, Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace Said:

“The United Nations has long understood the unique power of sport for change; but for change to happen, strong leadership is needed.

“The UNOSDP 2012 Youth Leadership Camp provides concrete and practical leadership skills from some of the best leaders and experts in the field, in a truly collaborative spirit; this ensures that the lessons learned will guide these young leaders in their future endeavors.

“This pilot is a new starting point for the young beneficiaries of the programme, we want to give them now the opportunities they did not get before.” The participants have been selected from nine countries in Sub–Saharan Africa and the Palestinian Territory.

Furthermore, four young people from Qatar, who have been identified by the Reach Out to Asia organisation, have been invited; thus enabling cultural differences to be appreciated. Initiated by the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace, the project in Doha is being organised in co-operation with the Canadian based international organisation “Right To Play” and the Doha based Aspire Zone Foundation.

Johann Olav Koss, Chief Executive Officer and President of Right To Play, Said:

“Our field of Sport for Development and Peace needs the energy and innovation that is found in younger generations. We are proud to support the UNOSDP and youth leaders with this essential initiative.”

Nine sports organisations, which include the International Table Tennis Federation, are involved; notably GIZ, a body who supports the German Government in the area of international co-operation and education is present as is the well-known Liverpool Football Cub from England. All supporting organisations are sending experts to Doha or making donations in kind.

Ivan Bravo, Aspire Director-General said:

Aspire Zone Foundation is delighted to be working with the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace and hosting this exciting initiative to improve the leadership of young individuals.”

UNOSDP is the United Nations Office on Sport for Development and Peace:

Their offices are based in the Swiss city of Geneva with a second office, the Liaison Office, being located in New York; the aim is to bring the worlds of sport and development closer together. The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) is responsible for the global sport of table tennis. It is the second largest international federation in the world with 215 member nations.

Table Tennis is both an Olympic and Paralympic Sport. It was introduced at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games and has been a Paralympic sport since the first Paralympic Games in Rome in 1960.

Table Tennis is known as one of the most democratic sports on the planet and boasts high levels of life-long participation from every demographic. It is also one of the most cerebral sports; the medical profession often uses it for patients recovering from strokes etc. to stimulate the brain, and aid movement and coordination.

ITTF Press Release

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